Hamilton’s central city feels safer and has more people living, working and shopping in it according to the 2017 Central City Safety Plan scorecard, presented at Hamilton City Council’s Community and Services Committee meeting.
The Hamilton Central City Safety Plan was approved in 2014 with an aim for people’s perception of safety in the city to be improved. The plan’s scorecard details projects completed, facts and figures, plus Hamiltonians’ perception survey results for 2017.
The Central City Safety Plan Taskforce Chair Councillor Angela O’Leary says the 2017 scorecard marks the end of the plan and its successes, including almost 400 people being housed and the improving perception of safety in the central city.
“There isn’t a silver bullet for improving safety in the central city but the coordinated and action approach we’ve taken has made a real difference. Most of the actions in the plan have been completed with only a few still underway,” says Cr O’Leary.
The 2014-17 plan had two approaches; focusing on public spaces in the Council’s control, encouraging more people to use public spaces and make them feel safer; and providing help and support for homeless and vulnerable people through The People’s Project.
Since the plan was introduced, The People’s Project has housed 395 people with 97 per cent remaining housed. The annual central city perception survey shows that people who feel “very safe” or “reasonably safe” during the day has increased to 83 per cent (up 20 per cent from 2014) and at night, have increased to 62 per cent (up 19 percent from 2014). The NZ Police has seen a 36 per cent reduction in reported crime within the central city, and specific disorder crimes have reduced by 43 per cent.
Safety perceptions aren’t the only positive aspect to come out of the Plan, since 2014 central city retail spend is up $20M to $628M, hospitality spend is up $12M to $97M, more than 1700 additional people are working in the central city, and the number of businesses and people living in the central city have also increased.
“Some of the projects which have helped achieve our success include improving City Safe and Police presence, supporting the revamp of Norris Ward Park and Embassy Park, set up of the university orientation week safe zone, and reviewing Council’s bylaws related to behaviour in the central city,” says Cr O’Leary.
“We’ve come a long way in three years and the central city and city as a whole is a different place and it’s time to review and renew the safety plan.
“The taskforce has been working through creating a new plan for the past couple of months which will be presented early next year.”
Hamilton City Council continues to work closely with supporting organisations including The People’s Project, Hamilton Central Business Association and New Zealand Police.
The plan won the Fulton Hogan Excellence Award for Community Engagement at the 2016 Local Government New Zealand Excellence Awards.
View the Central City Safety Plan and the scorecard at hamilton.govt.nz/safetyplan